Well, there are the obvious reasons like if you're going to run a half marathon you're going to have to run some long distances. But, let's talk about what's really going on when we do long distance training.
There are several mental & physical benefits to the long run:
- It trains the body to be more efficient at using energy stores
- Strengthens muscles & joints to handle stress of running
- Teaches us runners to be patient. Running 5, 10, 15 miles is going to take a while!
- Teaches us how to handle the emotional stress & discomfort of extended mental & physical efforts.
One thing that can make a long run absolutely miserable is going too fast. Remember, this isn't the time to work on speed. So, slow down - way down & enjoy your time outside. Take in the scenery, enjoy a conversation with your friend if you're running with someone.
One last thing. Most people think they have to run the entire time. Don't be afraid to do a bit of walking on your long run. A 1 minute walk interval every 10 minutes or so can do wonders to our training, especially for beginners.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there & enjoy your run!